This Shattered World – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

IMG_4913

Title: This Shattered World (Book 2 of The Starbound Trilogy)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year Published: 2014
Page Count: 390
ISBN: 9781743319703

 It’s very rare that I find a sequel better than the first novel in a series. I can probably count the amount of times on one hand, and This Shattered World is definitely one of those times. Book one, These Broken Stars, was so incredible that I honestly didn’t know what to expect with its sequel. And I’m so incredibly happy that this sequel was not a let down. If you haven’t already picked up book one, then go and do it now! It truly is one of my favourite series I’ve read this year!

This Shattered World is a companion sequel, meaning that the characters (Lilac and Tarver) we meet in book one are not the main characters in this book. They do turn up, and play a role in this story, but the main characters in this book are Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac. They live on the planet Avon, and are on opposing sides of the war that ravages this planet. Avon is a planet that is struggling to maintain its position in the galaxy. It has struggled to pass its terraforming tests (I don’t even know where to begin to explain what this is so I’m just going to skip over that explanation – if you have read the first book, you should know what I’m talking about), tests that when passed promise a better life for the inhabitants. Flynn Cormac is the brother of the girl who led the rebellion against the terraforming organisation ten years ago. Jubilee, or Lee as she prefers, is a Captain in the military that fights on behalf of the terraforming organisation. When Flynn takes Lee hostage one night, he sets forth their future as being unlikely allies, a partnership the two try to fight. Reluctantly relying on help from one another, Flynn and Lee discover that there may be an unseen reason as to why Avon is failing its terraforming, and why every soldier who lands on Avon with the exception of Lee, falls ill to the fury, a disease-like thing that cause the soldiers to become unaware to their heightened levels of violence. Lee and Flynn must betray their own sides in order to unearth the secrets that ravage Avon, and to create a future that results in a peaceful state on Avon.

I feel like that description really sucked. I apologise! I hope it isn’t too confusing!

So what was my favourite thing about this book? Miss Jubilee Chase. I loved her so much! I loved how kick-ass, strong, and flipping amazing she was. A trend I’ve noticed in the books I’ve loved the most this year is that they all featured a strong female lead character, and this was no exception. She’s snarky, and witty, and just down-right amazing. Yes, I know I called her amazing twice in one paragraph, but that just shows how much I loved her character. Wanna know how kick-ass she is? She stabs someone with a tiny umbrella cocktail decoration thing in the leg, hard enough to draw blood. Now that’s not something I’ve ever read a character do before! She has a I-don’t-need-a-man vibe which is such a refreshing thing to read about. It made the chemistry between Flynn and Lee that much more exciting. An example of Lee’s I-don’t-need-a-man-attitude:

“What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

I was not a fan of Lilac in the first book, so I was so happy to have a strong voice that I could instantly connect with in this book. This definitely improved things for me.

What was another favourite thing of mine about this book? Mr. Flynn Cormac. I loved that he was such a contrasting personality to Lee, and I loved how deeply he valued a peaceful way of life and would reflect this in every thing he did in the war. I can’t think of many books that I’ve read where a male protagonist agonises over the negative outcomes of war, and so I enjoyed this refreshing personality.

Want to know another favourite thing? LEE AND FLYNN TOGETHER. I shipped them so hard. I loved their chemistry so much. They had the best banter, and I just wanted them to get together so so so so so so so so so so so much! It was annoying to have actual comparisons to Romeo and Juliette – Lee actually calls Flynn Romeo for a good third of the book before she becomes aware of his name. It bugged me a little bit because I think everyone can see the comparisons with these star-crossed lovers, and so I didn’t need the actual reminder of Shakespeare to see this in my mind as I read. This put aside, I really loved them together, and although the final book probably won’t be from their perspectives, I’m looking forward to see their story develop from a new set of characters’ eyes like I did with Lilac and Tarver and this book. The other thing I appreciated with Lee and Flynn’s relationship was that it was not the be-all end-all of this book. I felt that These Broken Stars focused a lot on the relationship between Lilac and Tarver, whereas I felt that Lee and Flynn’s relationship was not as much of a  primary focus. Although I love reading books with cute romances, it is very refreshing to read books where there is more going on.

For a book that is co-authored, I struggled to determine which author wrote what. This book flows magically, and is written to perfection. This makes for a much more entertaining and fulfilling read, and I am so glad that Kaufman and Spooner make for good writing partners, as I couldn’t imagine never have being able to read this story unless it was exactly as it was! There were just some very different descriptions that I picked up on that just were so vivid in creating imagery in my mind, and that just made me love the writing all the more. For example:

“Blood glues our hands together, Flynn’s and mine.”

This actually creeps me out, and makes me cringe and I just ughhhhh.

“My world has been torn apart and stitched back together too many times, and now I exist only as a tattered patchwork of myself – unable to think, unable to feel anything other than numbness.”

“Her mother is warm red-orange, and her father is a lighter peach that highlights it, mingles with it to turn them both the color of sunrise”

– What a beautiful description. I like the idea of love as a sunrise. It kind of breaks away from of the typical descriptions of love.

Another thing I enjoyed was this constant battle and careful need to balance doing the right thing for the planet and doing the right thing for your people. Lee and Flynn were both wanting to end their war and try and save Avon from it’s dismal future, but this meant that the both of them had to cross lines and betray people who were important to them. I always love books that have some deeper meaning to them, and this is a value I took away from reading this book – sometimes doing the right thing that’s best for all means turning your back on what’s best for you. I also liked that the authors summed this up in one simple sentence:

“There are never just two sides to anything”

So Avon as a planet has a weird climate. The whole planet is swampy, and the sky is covered in a constant cloud-cover. As a native of Avon, these conditions mean that Flynn had never seen the stars before, and so possibly one of my favourite parts of this book was the moment where Flynn saw stars for the first time. And I don’t mean that he saw them from his planet looking up at the sky, oh no, Flynn saw stars for the first time in a space ship in the air and it just was great to imagine. This is something very limited people get to actually experience in real life, so I will gladly read about stars and seeing them from that perspective.

There were a few things that bothered me, but they weren’t all that much of a big deal to me. If it wasn’t for taking notes to write this review, I probably would have forgotten about them to be honest.

Firstly, something was still off about the pacing. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. The pacing was definitely better than book one, but there was still something that was causing me to put the book down momentarily throughout the middle as my mind wandered elsewhere. It is a fairly long book, and I was a little tired when I read this, so I’m not sure if it was just my own context that was causing me to feel this way, or if it is the pacing itself. Either way, the beginning had me wanting to sit and read all day long, and the ending had me frantically flipping pages to finish the book as fast as possible. It was just a little bit in the middle that saw my mind wander.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the dream paragraphs that are at the start of each chapter. I get that they had a greater purpose, but I felt like this slowed the story down considerably (perhaps this was linked to my pacing issues?)

The ending also had me considerably confused. If you have read it, it was the whispers and pretty much a big chunk of the research facility that left me confused. If you haven’t read it, don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil anything. I ended up understanding the majority of it, but when I first read it I had to read a few paragraphs repeatedly for it to sink in (once again possibly a side effect of me being tired when I read this book!)

The last thing that annoyed me about this book is actually about the blurb. One of the last sentences states “He [Flynn] and Lee escape together.” I was waiting for the entire time for them to escape in to space and to run off and save Avon from afar the entire time, and I never actually got it. There is one part somewhere in this book that possibly is the scene that inspired this description on the blurb, but I would not consider that an escape. Sometimes I really hate when blurbs manipulate the actual content – it leaves you with expectations that can never quite be fulfilled.

I stated earlier that Lilac and Tarver do make an appearance in this book. If you are wondering how much of the book they are in, they make their first appearance around half way through. I liked that they were not a major focus, but that they were still important, and I loved seeing their relationship through someone else’s perspective. It made me like Lilac a little bit more (I never reviewed These Broken Stars, but I think it’s safe to guess from this review that Lilac really wasn’t a favourite of mine).

And one last final note, a quote someone towards the end of the book is “you ruined me.” This book will now forever remind me of The Veronicas song “You Ruin Me” and vice verse (for those of you who have never heard of The Veronicas, they’re Australian singers and twins and “You Ruin Me” is actually perfection in a song).

It wouldn’t be a review from me without mentioning the cover. When I first bought this book, I preferred the cover for These Broken Stars. On completion, I prefer the cover to This Shattered World. I don’t know why I changed my mind, just that I did. Either way, both covers are perfection, and some super amazing books to Instagram (if you follow me on Instagram you would have seen these books pop up in quite a few photos).

This Shattered World shattered my expectations (pun intended). It is a five-star-worthy book, and one I definitely look forward to re-reading in future years. It has fun, strong, and refreshing set of characters who I instantly loved. Although it has a few things that bugged me, they really were not strong enough to influence my overall love of this book. I honestly recommend this series wholeheartedly, as it is just so unique to anything I have read before and it is well written and entertaining, being everything a book series could be.

I’m going to finish this review with one more beautiful quote from this book. I didn’t know where to put it in my review cause it’s a little long, so here you go.

“You’re the most important thing in this universe. You; this vessel; the people of this planet; lovers, warriors, artists, leaders, dreams

Title: This Shattered World (Book 2 of The Starbound Trilogy)

Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Year Published: 2014

Page Count: 390

ISBN: 9781743319703

 

It’s very rare that I find a sequel better than the first novel in a series. I can probably count the amount of times on one hand, and This Shattered World is definitely one of those times. Book one, These Broken Stars, was so incredible that I honestly didn’t know what to expect with its sequel. And I’m so incredibly happy that this sequel was not a let down. If you haven’t already picked up book one, then go and do it now! It truly is one of my favourite series I’ve read this year!

This Shattered World is a companion sequel, meaning that the characters (Lilac and Tarver) we meet in book one are not the main characters in this book. They do turn up, and play a role in this story, but the main characters in this book are Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac. They live on the planet Avon, and are on opposing sides of the war that ravages this planet. Avon is a planet that is struggling to maintain its position in the galaxy. It has struggled to pass its terraforming tests (I don’t even know where to begin to explain what this is so I’m just going to skip over that explanation – if you have read the first book, you should know what I’m talking about), tests that when passed promise a better life for the inhabitants. Flynn Cormac is the brother of the girl who led the rebellion against the terraforming organisation ten years ago. Jubilee, or Lee as she prefers, is a Captain in the military that fights on behalf of the terraforming organisation. When Flynn takes Lee hostage one night, he sets forth their future as being unlikely allies, a partnership the two try to fight. Reluctantly relying on help from one another, Flynn and Lee discover that there may be an unseen reason as to why Avon is failing its terraforming, and why every soldier who lands on Avon with the exception of Lee, falls ill to the fury, a disease-like thing that cause the soldiers to become unaware to their heightened levels of violence. Lee and Flynn must betray their own sides in order to unearth the secrets that ravage Avon, and to create a future that results in a peaceful state on Avon.

I feel like that description really sucked. I apologise! I hope it isn’t too confusing!

So what was my favourite thing about this book? Miss Jubilee Chase. I loved her so much! I loved how kick-ass, strong, and flipping amazing she was. A trend I’ve noticed in the books I’ve loved the most this year is that they all featured a strong female lead character, and this was no exception. She’s snarky, and witty, and just down-right amazing. Yes, I know I called her amazing twice in one paragraph, but that just shows how much I loved her character. Wanna know how kick-ass she is? She stabs someone with a tiny umbrella cocktail decoration thing in the leg, hard enough to draw blood. Now that’s not something I’ve ever read a character do before! She has a I-don’t-need-a-man vibe which is such a refreshing thing to read about. It made the chemistry between Flynn and Lee that much more exciting. An example of Lee’s I-don’t-need-a-man-attitude:

“What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

I was not a fan of Lilac in the first book, so I was so happy to have a strong voice that I could instantly connect with in this book. This definitely improved things for me.

What was another favourite thing of mine about this book? Mr. Flynn Cormac. I loved that he was such a contrasting personality to Lee, and I loved how deeply he valued a peaceful way of life and would reflect this in every thing he did in the war. I can’t think of many books that I’ve read where a male protagonist agonises over the negative outcomes of war, and so I enjoyed this refreshing personality.

Did I hear you correctly? You wanted to know another favourite thing? LEE AND FLYNN TOGETHER. I shipped them so hard. I loved their chemistry so much. They had the best banter, and I just wanted them to get together so so so so so so so so so so so much! It was annoying to have actual comparisons to Romeo and Juliette – Lee actually calls Flynn Romeo for a good third of the book before she becomes aware of his name. It bugged me a little bit because I think everyone can see the comparisons with these star-crossed lovers, and so I didn’t need the actual reminder of Shakespeare to see this in my mind as I read. This put aside, I really loved them together, and although the final book probably won’t be from their perspectives, I’m looking forward to see their story develop from a new set of characters’ eyes like I did with Lilac and Tarver and this book. The other thing I appreciated with Lee and Flynn’s relationship was that it was not the be-all end-all of this book. I felt that These Broken Stars focused a lot on the relationship between Lilac and Tarver, whereas I felt that Lee and Flynn’s relationship was not a primary focus. Although I love reading books with cute romances, it is very refreshing to read books where this isn’t as big a focus.

For a book that is co-authored, I struggled to determine which author wrote what. This book flows magically, and is written to perfection. This makes for a much more entertaining and fulfilling read, and I am so glad that Kaufman and Spooner make for good writing partners, as I couldn’t imagine never have being able to read this story unless it was exactly as it was! There were just some very different descriptions that I picked up on that just were so vivid in creating imagery in my mind, and that just made me love the writing all the more. For example:

“Blood glues our hands together, Flynn’s and mine.” This actually creeps me out, and makes me cringe and I just ughhhhh.

“My world has been torn apart and stitched back together too many times, and now I exist only as a tattered patchwork of myself – unable to think, unable to feel anything other than numbness.”

“Her mother is warm red-orange, and her father is a lighter peach that highlights it, mingles with it to turn them both the color of sunrise” – What a beautiful description. I like the idea of love as a sunrise. It kind of breaks away from of the typical descriptions of love in a way that I have never considered before.

Another thing I enjoyed was this constant battle and careful need to balance doing the right thing for the planet and doing the right thing for your people. Lee and Flynn were both wanting to end their war and try and save Avon from it’s dismal future, but this meant that the both of them had to cross lines and betray people who were important to them. I always love books that have some deeper meaning to them, and this is a value I took away from reading this book – sometimes doing the right thing that’s best for all means turning your back on what’s best for you. I also liked that the authors summed this up in one simple sentence:

There are never just two sides to anything>”

So Avon as a planet has some weird climate. The whole planet is swampy, and the sky is covered in a constant cloud-cover. As a native of Avon, these conditions mean that Flynn had never seen the stars before, and so possibly one of my favourite parts of this book was the moment where Flynn saw stars for the first time. And I don’t mean that he saw them from his planet looking up at the sky, oh no, Flynn saw stars for the first time in a space ship in the air and just was great to imagine. This is something very limited people get to actually experience in real life, so I will gladly read about stars and seeing them from that perspective for life.

So there were a few things that bothered me, but they weren’t all that much of a big deal to me. If it wasn’t for taking notes to write this review, I probably would have forgotten about them to be honest.

Firstly, something was still off about the pacing. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. The pacing was definitely better than book one, but there was still something that was causing me to put the book down momentarily throughout the middle as my mind wandered elsewhere. It is a fairly long book, and I was a little tired when I read this, so I’m not sure if it was just my own context that was causing me to feel this way, or if it is the pacing itself. Either way, the beginning had me wanting to sit and read all day long, and the ending had me frantically flipping pages to finish the book as fast as possible. It was just a little bit in the middle that saw my mind wander.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the dream paragraphs that are at the start of each chapter. I get that they had a greater purpose, but I felt like this slowed the story down considerably (perhaps this was linked to my pacing issues?)

The ending also had me considerably confused. If you have read it, it was the whispers and pretty much a big chunk of the research facility that left me confused. If you haven’t read it, don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil anything. I ended up understanding the majority of it, but when I first read it I had to read a few paragraphs repeatedly for it to sink in (once again possibly a side effect of me being tired when I read this book!)

The last thing that annoyed me about this book is actually about the blurb. One of the last sentences states “He [Flynn] and Lee escape together.” I was waiting for the entire time for them to escape in to space and to run off and save Avon from afar the entire time, and I never actually got it. There is one part somewhere in this book that possibly is the scene that inspired this description on the blurb, but I would not consider that an escape. Sometimes I really hate when blurbs manipulate the actual content – it leaves you with expectations that can never quite be fulfilled.

I stated earlier that Lilac and Tarver do make an appearance in this book. If you are wondering how much of the book they are in, they make their first appearance around half way through. I liked that they were not a major focus, but that they were still important, and I loved seeing their relationship through someone else’s perspective. It made me like Lilac a little bit more (I never reviewed These Broken Stars, but I think it’s safe to guess from this review that Lilac really wasn’t a favourite of mine).

And one last final note, a quote someone towards the end of the book is “you ruined me.” This book will now forever remind me of The Veronicas song “You Ruin Me” and vice verse (for those of you who have never heard of The Veronicas, they’re Australian singers and twins and “You Ruin Me” is actually perfection in a song).

It wouldn’t be a review from me without mentioning the cover. When I first bought this book, I preferred the cover for These Broken Stars. On completion, I prefer the cover to This Shattered World. I don’t know why I changed my mind, just that I did. Either way, both covers are perfection, and some super amazing books to Instagram (if you follow me on Instagram you would have seen these books pop up in quite a few photos).

This Shattered World shattered my expectations (pun intended). It is a five-star-worthy book, and one I definitely look forward to re-reading in future years. It has fun, strong, and refreshing set of characters who I instantly loved. Although it has a few things that bugged me, they really were not strong enough to influence my overall love of this book. I honestly recommend this series wholeheartedly, as it is just so unique to anything I have read before and it is well written and entertaining, being everything a book series could be.

I’m going to finish this review with one more beautiful quote from this book. I didn’t know where to put it in my review cause it’s a little long, so here you go.

“You’re the most important thing in this universe. You; this vessel; the people of this planet; lovers, warriors, artists, leaders, dreams more numerous than stars. Each mind unique, each thought created for an instant and broken apart to form new ones. You don’t understand the unbearable beauty of being you.

more numerous than stars. Each mind unique, each thought created for an instant and broken apart to form new ones. You don’t understand the unbearable beauty of being you.”

One thought on “This Shattered World – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

  1. Pingback: Top Fourteen Books of 2014 | pretty pages blog

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